There is an historic opportunity for America’s media to regain its prestige at a time when America finds itself losing more of it throughout the world.
Our disgraceful national effort at combatting a global pandemic, combined with the Burlesque show that has become the after-action report of this year’s Presidential Election, has hardly put America, the greatest nation in the world, in the greatest light in the world.
I believe fervently in the need for a robust, accurate and ubiquitous media in America.
Not the unctuous, sanctimonious, self- congratulatory press we see on television today, or, for that matter on the internet.
Nor the self-proclaimed “Resistance” media that bypasses truth and relative objectivity for personal opinion, barely concealed contempt for those that disagree with them and a gratuitous grasp of history, not to mention, facts.
It’s impossible to go onto CNN or FOX news on the internet today without seeing personal opinion disguised as news – opinion disguised as analysis – and personal bias, ideology and faux outrage in full view of anyone who wants to read it.
Perhaps the last vestige, the best hope for America’s 4th Estate, lies in the dwindling circulation and reach of our nation’s newspapers.
The pressure to go to print with a story that requires more validation, verification and fact checking than that which is thrown up on the internet may, indeed, offer some hope that newspapers could help lead the way forward in restoring the shine to a necessary piece of America’s Democracy.
The press’s coverage of the end of the Presidential Election has been better than average yet not good enough.
When simply reporting on the facts, court decisions and talking to real experts on elections – not idealogues and demagogues proclaiming themselves to be – the press has done the job America needs them to do.
Yet, too often those who are trying to do the heavy lifting of holding truth to power are overshadowed by those who want to give their version of the truth in the hope that it gives them power.
Still, if I were to give the nation’s media a grade with respect to the coverage they have given to Americans I would give them a solid B-.
So, what can it do, now, in the midst of the most devastating public health disaster in American’s history since the AIDS epidemic tore through the heart and soul of America from sea to shining sea?
They could do the job that our national government, and far too many local and state officials, refuse to do, cannot do or don’t know how to do: Educate, inform and prepare Americans for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Americans need real facts. They need to understand these vaccines better than we understood the COVID-19 virus in its early days.
They need to know how the process of creating a vaccine is done. What protocols are required to discover them.
And, what are the side effects, how will they impact certain people, and what risk factors exist with these vaccines.
This is the moment in America’s time, and in the media’s history, where our country, and our world, needs to have the press move past the easy effort of taking potshots at those in government, business and society who have a vested interest in undermining the efficacy a vaccine that has the potential to get all of us back on our feet again.
It’s incumbent upon the media to take Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and others of their ilk and take away their platform if they continue to spew distortion, lies and fail to adhere to a social standard they insist those they attack adhere to.
Let’s be honest: Americans are responsible for the press and the media we have today.
We don’t like what one media outlet says or reports, and we find somewhere else to feed our preconceived notion of the truth.
Americans by the millions have confused social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as the foundation of our 1st Amendment Rights and feel as though they should be able to post whatever it is they want to post but don’t want anybody else to post whatever it is they want to post.
So, they want those same social media sites to take down what somebody says that they don’t like, but keep up what they wrote that the person they want to deprive of their “rights” doesn’t like.
If it doesn’t happen it is clearly a deliberate act to deprive them of their 1st Amendment Rights and they go off in search of another platform they believe is “fair”, “unbiased” and doesn’t “filter” their opinions or infringe on their “rights.”
The time for the nation’s media to step up and get it right with the emergence of multiple COVID-19 vaccines is now.
There is a closing window of opportunity to do so before those who find an advantage of distorting facts with fiction find purchase in the minds of the American public.
We have already lost far too many Americans and American Dreams to death and despair caused by COVID-19.
Let’s not add to our collective misery it by failing to prepare Americans for the next battle ahead against COVID-19 with the weapons that have been created to vanquish it.
There is no institution in American life that is better prepared to equip us with the training we need to win the next battle that the nation’s media.
No institution that needs to step up to ensure that we’ve got the information we need to go into battle to win the war against COVID-19 than the nation’s media.
To prove to the world that Democracy was worth saving, America went to war with its greatest treasures of men, women and material.
To prove to America that lives are worth saving we need to go to war with the greatest tool in the arsenal of Democracy: Truth.